The Department of Energy's loan guarantee program for alternative energy companies has been hit by some high-profile failures.
Yet the agency is sticking by its guns, even as the overall green sector comes under scrutiny, and critics insist the government should not play the role of green venture capitalists.
Last week, the DoE admitted a recipient of a $50 million green loan—Michigan-based Vehicle Production Group—would cost the government $42 million. VPG was forced to lay off hundreds in February, after paying back only $5 million of what the DoE lent it.
Since its creation in 2005, the $34 billion lending program has provided 33 companies with government financing for alternative energy projects. The program has had some high-profile successes. It's helped set up 13 solar energy firms that are actively selling power into the grid.
But failed start-ups—namely Solyndra, Fisker Automotive and Abound Solar, which all received funds from the green lending program—have left taxpayers in the red.